Workers film and video

Submitted by Matthew on 2 February, 2011 - 12:18

“Workers Film and Video” is a new website which aims to bring together into a single site links to footage of key events in working-class history.

Material already accessible through the site, which was set up only earlier this year, includes both historical material, such as the 1905 Russian Revolution and the German Spartakist Uprising in 1919, and also more contemporary material, such as last year’s workers’ protests in Egypt.

Not all of the footage to which is the site links is unedited footage of events. The site also links to debates and documentaries about topics such as the French Revolution, the October Revolution, “Did Trotsky Point the Way to Socialism?”, and even the re-enactment of a (supposed) discussion amongst Parisian Communards in 1871.

A more in-depth political analysis of some of the events covered on the site is provided by links to articles in publications and other websites such such as Critique, Revolutionary History and the AWL’s website.

The website is an open one. It welcomes suggestions for other films and footage to which it could link.

The question thrown up by the website is one of selection.

Does the value of the documentaries linked to by the website, for example, lie in the original footage which they include or in the political analysis which they provide? (Or maybe in both?)

And has the footage selected for linkage been chosen simply because it is available rather than because it really is a “key event in working-class history”?

The site links, for example, to a collection of 58 videos of speeches produced by the Communist Party of Great Britain (producers of the Weekly Worker).

Does Jack Conrad speaking on “The CPGB Draft Programme: What programmes are, how they should be organised, and why they are important” count as a “key event in working-class history”? I think not.

Another example is the site’s linkage to footage of the 2009 picket of the Iranian Embassy in solidarity with Iranian workers. This was a worthwhile initiative, but hardly on a par with the Russian Revolution.

Even so, the site is well worth a visit and new links can be suggested by its viewers:


Submitted by Peter burton on Mon, 07/02/2011 - 21:39

Thank you Stan for reviewing the site.You ask :"Does the value of the documentaries linked to by the website, for example, lie in the original footage which they include or in the political analysis which they provide? (Or maybe in both?)"

This depends on the subject and footage as analysis and quality of footage vary from link to link but i think all have some merit
relative to a lot of other footage i watched and did not select. I think it is the best of what i viewed but on some topics,
particularly more recent events like the Miners' strike there is literally tons of material.

I don't think there is any specific link to Jack Conrad's Draft programme- There are links to Dave Broders' talk on May 68,
Yassmine Matthers' talk on Iran and Dave Douglas' talk on 'The Lessons of the Miners strike' from their school but these
are genuinely interesting talks that supplement footage of events.

I hope people can find the time to watch the films and perhaps use them educationally . A cable can link a laptop to
a TV to make comfortable viewing possible. And some of the footage is not just of educational value but inspirational in a
a medium that has a power all of its own -e.g's the response of the strikers' leaders at the Flint Sit-Down strike
as soldiers from the National guard are fixing bayonets and about to enter the factory, actually watching the Night of The Barricades from May 68 in France,the leaders of Solidarity negotiating with the leaders of the Polish Communist Party or seeing how Farrell Dobbs
contributed significantly to the victory of the truckers in Minneapolis in 34 and how this was done.

In relation to your last point about smaller scale events the site has evolved and i have included in the banner headline description a reference to more recent workers' actions and events, so i'll take that one on the chin.


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